Monday, 16 March 2015

Lasagnia al Nero di Seppia

This lasagna has three components which can be prepared in advance and assembled just before serving.  A bit complex but easy to follow.  Recipe is enough to serve 4-5 portions.

150g durum wheat flour
150g strong plain white flour
3 small eggs
2 fresh cuttle fish ink sacks
1/4 tsp salt

Dried Pea Puree

150g dried peas soaked overnight
1 onion roughly chopped
1 clove garlic
Salt & Pepper

Cuttle Fish Mustard Salsa
2 Fresh Cuttle fish cleaned
50g pancetta
1 small carrot chopped
1 celery stick chopped
1 small onion chopped
1 clove garlic crushed
2 tablespoons mascarpone chees
2 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh marjoram
Salt and Pepper

Add peas to a pot, cover with water and bring to boil.  Boil covered for 15 minutes then turn off heat.  Stand for 1  hour then boil again for another 15 minutes.  Test peas, they should be just tender.  Add chopped onions, garlic salt and pepper and continue to boil uncovered till liquid nearly evaporates. Pour contents in a food processor and blend till smooth.  Set aside.

Prepare pasta by adding ink to eggs and lightly beat with a fork.  In a food processor add flours salt and egg mixture and mix till a stiff ball forms.  Remove contents, arrange to a ball and cover with cling film.  Leave to chill in a refrigerator for around 30 minutes.  Using pasta machine roll pasta several times till smooth and then using the last setting prepare thin sheets around 10x10cm.  Layer on a baking sheet dusted with flour to avoid sticking.  Leave in refrigerator till needed.

Make the Cuttlefish salsa by chop all ingredients in small cubes. Heat a medium pan add olive oil and gently fry onions till translucent.  Add carrots, garlic, celery and pancetta and continue to fry for about a minute. Add 1/2 cup of water and simmer till all vegetables are cooked.  Add chopped cuttlefish and cook for just 1 minute.  Turn heat off. Finally add mascarpone cheese, herbs and mustard and stir till cheese melts. Season with salt and pepper  Just before serving heat mixture but do not boil.

Prepare a pan with hot water add 1 tablespoon salt and when it boils add pasta sheets.  Boil for just 1 minute as fresh pasta does not take longer to cook.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer lasagna to a large plate and drizzle some olive oil on top.

Arrange the plate by first adding about two tablespoons of pea puree, then  l layer lasagna. 2 tablespoons Cuttlefish sauce. Then continue three more layers alternating with lasagna and cuttlefish sauce ending up with lasagna on top.  Drizzle some olive oil and decorate with seasonal flours. pea shoots or bean flours and cuttle fish pieces.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Cherry and Nut Coffee delight

A sweet balance to a good stretto!  Recipe makes around 60 small biscuits and it is important to use dried cherries not candied cherries.

200g Pure ground Almonds
100g Ground Pistacchios
200g Caster Sugar
1 tsp grated lemon rind
3 eggs
100g dried red cherries
100g blanched almonds
1 tbsp corn flour
2 tbsp semolina

Icing sugar for dusting

Pre heat oven to 170c

Pour all ingredients except cherries and almonds in a large mixing bowl, using a fork mix to form a stiff paste.
Add cherries and mix to evenly incorporate in the mixture.
Line a 30x30cm baking tray with baking paper.  Spoon over the mixture, using a fork to level it out.  Arrange the almonds evenly on top and bake for about 30 minutes till slightly golden.
Remove from oven and let the biscuit base to cool down.  Dust with icing sugar then shift the galette over a working surface and using a bread knife cut into 1x6cm strips.  Biscuits keep well in an airtight container for more than two weeks.

Almond and Pistacchio Biscotti

These are the lovely biscuits served after each meal at the Sakaleo fish restaurant in Scoglitti.  Perfect with a shot of Limoncello or good espresso. Recipe makes about 50

200g Pure Ground Almonds
100g Pure Ground Pistacchios
200g Caster Sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp grated lemon rind
2 tbsp semolina
1 tbsp corn flour
3 tbsp icing sugar for dusting

Pre heat oven to 170c.  Pour all ingredients (except icing sugar) in a large bowl and using a fork stir around till mixture forms a stiff paste.
Line a large baking tray with baking paper then using two table spoons, take small mixture into one spoon  and form into rough quenelle directly on the tray.  Leave enough space between each biscuit as they might rise a little.  Bake for about 25 minutes till lightly golden.  Dust with icing sugar and serve.  Keep well for in an airtight container for about two weeks and can be frozen without icing sugar  for up to three months. 

Vanilla Sweet & Sour Burpees

Burpees are a yellow type of beet root.  I find them not as earthy as the red version, however they make a good pickle.  To be enjoyed with cheese or as a side refreshment with curries.

4 medium sized burpees
1 cup Sugar
1 Cup Cider Vinegar
1 Vanilla Pod
1 Cup water

Heat oven to 200c. Wash burpees and cut in 4 segments.  Place on a shallow baking tray and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven place in a bowl and while still hot cover bowl with cling film to create some steam.  When completely cold, peel and chop to 1cm cubes.
In a medium sauce pan, add sugar vinegar and water and on a slow heat bring to boil till sugar dissolves.  Split vanilla pod in half lengthways and scoop out the tiny seeds and add to the vinegar mixture. Cut the bean in two and also add to vinegar.  Add chopped burpees to the vinegar mixture and any liquor that may have come out during cooking.  Bring to boil once again then turn off heat.  When completely cold, pour in sterelized jars and cover with plastic lid.  It keeps well refrigerated for about two weeks.